A Short Exploration of the Otherworldly in Service of Our Forest City

It’s almost laughable at this point to say that 2020 was rife with uncertainty – and 2021 feels the same.

There are seemingly endless examples to highlight the instability, anywhere from across the globe to across the street. These anxieties compound and take away from our sense of community, balance, and safety.

It makes sense for us then, to carve out whatever little havens of comfort and sure-footedness we can amidst the constant flux. There are many ways to go about achieving this for oneself — one example passed down through my family is Tarot.

Let the Eyerolls Commence

Before you jump in with all the responses, critiques, and barbs that commonly surround Tarot, understand this — there are many ways to view Tarot.

I see Tarot with other-worldly respect and admiration. Another way to approach it, and one that I have found appeals to even the most hardened skeptic, is through a psychological lens. Each card possesses a methodology and set of rules. Once that rubric has been explained to you by the person doing your reading (or today, by little ol’ me), your subconscious kicks into overdrive. Your brain will make sense of the information provided in a way that appeals to it. All to say that at the very least, Tarot can provide a randomly generated set of stimuli that one’s brain then tries to fit into a recognizable narrative.

Tarot cards laid out on a table, with a room divider with grapes on it in the background.
The author’s Tarot reading space.

It’s also important to say that Tarot doesn’t straight-up tell the future in the fashion many shows and movies would have you believe. Since free-will is a key facet of Tarot, it would be better (yet still reductively) described as giving information based on what has happened, is happening, and is likely to happen. The future aspects are being based on trajectories and pieces in play.

Look into My Crystal Ball — But Not Really, I Don’t Have One

With that in mind, I’ve found that Tarot can provide a sense of stability, however temporary it may be. Some information to feed to the “What is going to happen next?!” parts of our brain, ideally quieting them for a moment. Therefore, in this time of uncertainty, I thought it would be apt to do a little Tarot reading for our Forest City and what the future might have in store.

One question, three cards, four hundred thousand people. Let’s go!

A key consideration in Tarot is the question asked. Since this is a wider reading, and a touch vaguer, I cast a wide net. It would be impossible to hone in on minutiae, so I went with an open-ended; “What can I learn about the city of London, Ontario, and what Winter has in store for it?”

All Hands On Deck

I cut and shuffle thrice. The first card I pull is the Page of Pentacles, the second is the Eight of Cups, and the third pull is the reversed (upside down) Page of Swords.

The Page of Pentacles, Eight of Cups, and reversed Page of Swords from the 1909 Rider-Waite Tarot deck.

Page of Pentacles

The Page of Pentacles arrives in a reading when an exciting new venture is possible. Since Pentacles have to do with the tangible aspects of life — money, possessions, health — it would likely have to do with business. Being a Page card, it suggests a youthful, naïve energy — as opposed to the established, wise energy that a King card might represent. This is a card that recommends measuring twice and cutting once, all while maintaining forward momentum. Once things have been put into motion, one must continually adjust and follow-up. A great idea and optimism are highly valuable but don’t forget about the long-term commitment a new venture will require.

 

Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups is a card that signifies change. Cups as a suit represent emotions, so this typically means a change from within. Are we happy with what we’ve attached ourselves to —whether it be romantically, professionally, or personally? While at an extreme this can present as being chronically dissatisfied, a healthy and balanced hunger for more depth in one’s life can lead to a wealth of meaningful experiences. Think of it this way —your body is craving a particular mineral, and therefore you’re hungry. You can make a gargantuan meal to feed yourself, but if it’s not a significant source of that mineral, you’ll end up physically stuffed and still dissatisfied. You deserve your daily fill of emotional nutrients.

 

Page of Swords

And finally, the reversed Page of Swords. This Page, similarly to the Page of Pentacles, brings in youthful, naïve, bright energy. Since it’s in the suit of Swords, this energy will do with the mind, intellect, and communication. Considering the card is reversed, this can present as a negative manifestation of these qualities. In this case, the reversed Page signifies the old adage “All bark, no bite” when it comes to following through on boasts and promises. Another hallmark of this Page is the hunger for information. The right-side-up Page will do their best to learn all they can, while this reversed twin suggests the same drive, but with less savoury methods. The reversed Page of Swords will do whatever it takes to get that information —his typically includes badgering, spying, and even lying.

What’s the T(arot), Sis?

Now, what does all this mean? If London, ON were a person sitting in front of me, I would tell them that change is on the horizon in the form of a new opportunity. While exciting and positive, it’s up to the city to follow through and plan where it will spend its long-term energy.

While change has been pulling on London’s ear for a while, the city should make sure that this new opportunity will fulfill more than just its superficial needs, while leaving behind anything that doesn’t support a new, more authentic vision. Paying extra attention to setting expectations and following through on them will be paramount. Communication will be key, and so will manner. London should choose its words with care, and deliver them well.

Playing the Cards We’ve Been Dealt

I’m sure you agree, political and social implications abound! Now that I’ve described the card’s rubric, what do they say to you?

How has your particular perspective as one of the entity-of-London’s moving parts informed your opinion? What do these seemingly random pieces of information add up to in your life? While it’s not “telling you the future,” hopefully it is telling you something! Whether that something is magic or pure schmaltz, who can say? (I can! I can say. It’s magic).

Now onward, to Spring!

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